A small commission I've worked on recently - a seasonal card for a company selling clothes for dachshunds - Lupo&Olimp . The research for the project was lots of fun as it involved going through hundreds of photos of two adorable dachshunds - Lupo and Olimp. I totally fell in love with them. Check out the website - they look particularly awesome running through the snow in their stylish coats. Teaching the dachshunds how to ski was a little bit of a challenge but they seem to be doing well.
The remaining sketches from our Iranian adventure...
Below is the coolest looking local bus I've ever travelled on (it looked particularly fun from the outside but it was too hot to make a sketch). It was a six hour journey through the desert with no air-con. It was hot! (wearing the hijab didn't help much either).
However, it was all worth it as we arrived to the lovely Ateshooni guesthouse in an oasis village Garmeh. For some reasons I find the idea of an oasis in the middle of the desert very exciting. I think it has something to do with the adventure stories I read as a child.
Maziar, who owns the guesthouse is also a musician so we spend the evenings listening to his music.
As the temperatures were really high we would spend most of the day in the guesthouse chilling, drinking tea, eating dates, reading books and chatting with other travellers. Above is Bernardo who is on a trip around a world.
Some sketches from my trip to Iran (by far favourite country I've visited to date). I cannot quite explain why it was such a lovely place to visit and my sketches don't really capture that either, but I guess it must have something to do with the most welcoming people I've ever met.
A few quick sketches made while waiting in the airport. Lots of bored people staring at their smartphones...
...or into the distance.
And there is always a group of children running around and being difficult to draw. I love sketching in airports!
I am super excited about the trip to Iran. Hopefully the sketchbooks will fill up with travel sketches and notes, which I will post here as soon as I return.
And because a brand new glossy blank sketchbook can be intimidating, the dragon is helping to solve this problem. He is excited about the trip too!
Two illustrations I made a while ago and never posted here. I knew I had a thing with the idea of a favourite toy (a favourite duck in particular) but it turns out I also have a thing with drawing children chasing animals.
Maybe one day I will make a picture book that will be all about children chasing different types of animals!
A sneaky peek of my illustration for 32nd edition of Le immagini della fantasia. This years theme is inspired by the Scottish culture. The awesome Vivian French wrote a beautiful poem '12 Months of Scotland' and then 12 different Scotland-based illustrators was invited to illustrate it. My month was August so it involved capturing the Edinburgh festival atmosphere with all the music, colour, movement and crowds of people on the streets. Here is a sneaky peek:
Here is a short wordless story I made as a side personal project to keep myself sane while working on a big project. This is also when I realised that for some reasons I have to smuggle a dragon, a monster or a dinosaur into almost every illustration I make. I have no idea why is that but I guess I will have to illustrate a picture book with a dragon as a main character soon.
Apart from illustrating I also lead creative workshops for children. One of the places I work in is the North Edinburgh Arts centre where together with a lovely team we organise creative sessions for under 5's and their families. No matter what the session is about (making the sea creature from recycled plastic bottles, building a huge cardboard tram...) it is always lots of fun. And a lot of mess!
It is also very inspirating for my illustration practice. I love watching the children play and engage with the activities I'd prepared for them.
The sketch above is inspired by one of these sessions. The theme was the age of discovery and we were making boats from recyced materials. And these two decided to develop the activity further and attach a string to each of their boats and then they were wandering through the room, dragging the boats and engaging in the most exciting conversation (at least this is what it looked like from the outside as they didn't really pay attention to anything around them; just walking with their boats and talking). There was so much in there - the beauty, friendship, love, magic, imagination, adventure...
Moments like that are one of the many reasons I so much love my job!
It looks like I haven't blogged for ages. So just to show that I am alive and all is going well, here is an illustration I made recently. I very much enjoyed working on this one, painting with sticks, twigs and other random tools that I find laying around.
I went for a coffee this morning nad the plan was to sip my long black, read newspapers and then spend an hour looking blankly into distance and thinking about nothing (it has been a long week). Unfortunately a girl came in with her parents and have been walking round and looking adorable in her oversized brace trousers. So I spend the rest of the morning pretending that I am looking blankly into distance (so as not to alarm the parents) but in fact sketching the little girl.
Here she is. I am still not sure towards what exactly she is walking on this illustration.
I finally managed to scan in my sketches from Ghana, almost 5 months after we came back. For various reasons (mostly being creatively drained after the intense mornings with the kids) I didn't feel like sketching while I was there so there is only a few sketches and they are rather random.
Like for example this one.
We flew to Accra through Istanbul and spent half a day there.
Our first day in Accra. This is were we stayed. The hostel was called the Diamond Palace and the person who came up with that name had a good sense of humour.
Here is our team, all excited about the wifi connection.
Quick sketches of Kayla and Elliot. Kayla had the most awesome way of pronouncing "yeah, right?'. She actually had a few ways of pronouncing it and in each case it meant something else.
More sketches, trying out gouache this time. This is double outside my comfort zone - painting instead of drawing and people instead of animals.
Sketching on a tro tro on the way to the Street Academy. And Kate writing her daily report.
More gouache sketches - Elliot and Lauren.
Kyekyeku in his famous trousers and Harry. I think this one was taken just after another day of teaching.
This lady painted our nails and was tring hard to convert Kate to christianity.
View from the fooftop at our hostel and I think one of my favourite places in Accra.
The sketch above is from our trip to the beach. A very lazy sketch and a very lazy day.
And below is the only sketch I made in the Street Academy. It was a day when a local charity came to do a workshop with the kids soit wasn't as hectic as asual and I had a few minutes to take out my sketchbook.
A trip to the National Museum in Accra.
For my birthday Kate treated me to the best thing ever - a weekend at the Elmina Bay Resort. A very much needed break half way through the project. It was lovely to escape noisy Accra and spend a whole day lying under the palm trees, reading, sketching and swimming in the best swimming pool ever. One of the most exciting things was a shower with hot water.
On the way back we visited Emina and Cape Coast. I believe it was the most surreal day I've ever experienced.
Another swimming pool sketch.
And my last sketch from Ghana, a day after we said goodbye to the kids (lots of tears) and a day before we got on the plane.
The kids taught us how to say things in their language Ga. Here is my first lesson and a map of Africa I drew on the flight back to Edinburgh.
All in all, a month in Ghana teaching the kids how to make movies was one of the strongest and most amazing experiences and I don't think any sketchbook (or photos) can really express what it was really like to be there.